This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
To the mind that is still
the whole universe surrenders
I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford
And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this:
Just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.
A native American Elder was asked,
“What shall we do if we get lost?”
Stand still. The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is a place called here,
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger
both asking to know and be known.
Listen. The forest whispers,
“I have made this place, you can leave and return once again
No two trees are the same to Raven,
no two branches the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you,
you are truly lost.
Stand still. Listen.
The forest knows where you are.
Let it find you.
~ Arrangement by David Wagoner
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.
Breathing in, I know that anger is here.
Breathing out, I know that the anger is in me.
Breathing in, I know that anger is unpleasant.
Breathing out, I know this feeling will pass.
Breathing in, I am calm.
Breathing out. I am strong enough to take care of this anger.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me!—but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried: "Ho!—what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 't is mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'T is clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
~ A Hindu Fable – “The Blind Men and The Elephant”
"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched;
they are felt with the heart."
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Love After Love
The time will come, when with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you.
all your life, whom you have ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
~ Dereck Walcott
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.
And wait without love. For love would be love,
of the wrong thing.
Yet there is faith.
But the faith and the hope and the love, are all in the waiting.
And the darkness shall be the light
and the stillness the dancing.
~ T.S. Elliot
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth;
then took the other, just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim,
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same,
and both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
Did I believe I had a clear mind?
It was like the water of a river
flowing shallow over the ice. And now
that the rising water has broken
the ice, I see that what I thought
was the light is part of the dark.
~ Wendell Berry
A human being is part of the whole called by us universe;
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings
as something separated from the rest,
a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires
and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace
all living creatures
and the whole nature of its beauty.
~ Albert Einstein
Enough. These words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
qgain and again
~ David Whyte
"It may be when we no
longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey."
~ Wendell Berry
It is part of the cosmic law that what you say and do determines
what happens in your life.
The ordinary person thinks that this law is external to himself
and he feels confined and controlled by it.
So his desires trouble his mind, his mind troubles his spirit,
and he lives in constant turmoil with himself and the world.
His whole life is spent in struggling.
The superior person recognizes that he and the subtle law are one.
Therefore he cultivates himself to accord with it, bringing
moderation to his actions and clarity to his mind.
Doing this, he finds himself at one with all that is divine and enlightened.
This is the profound, simple truth:
You are the master of your life and death.
What you do is what you are.
~ Lao Tzu
In the end, just three things matter
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go
~ Jack Kornfield
The rain has stopped,
the clouds have drifted away,
and the weather is clear again.
If your heart is pure,
then all things in your world are pure.
Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,
then the moon and the flowers
will guide you along the way.
To perceive the world differently,
we must be willing to change our belief system,
let the past slip away, expand our sense of now,
and dissolve the fear in our mind.
~ William James
The song I have come to sing
remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my life
stringing and unstringing